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The Communicators

News/Business. People who shape the digital future.

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00:30:00

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Annapolis, MD, USA

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Comcast Cable

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mpeg2video

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ac3

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704

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480

TOPIC FREQUENCY

Us 7, Anne Toth 3, Google 3, John Boehner 2, Pelosi 2, Ftc 1, Mommy 1, Nancy Pelosi 1, Obama 1, Eric Schmidt 1, Tim O'reilly 1, Juliana Grunewald 1, Apple 1, Haverhill 1, Etc. 1, Safari 1, Sissy 1, Washington 1, California 1, Juliana Gruenwald 1,
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  CSPAN    The Communicators    News/Business. People who  
   shape the digital future.  

    September 18, 2010
    6:30 - 7:00pm EDT  

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stimulus spending sprees began. american families and small businesses have been making really tough choices over the last couple of years to cut back spending and to adjust to this new economic reality. why should the federal government be any different? our plan saves taxpayers nearly $100 billion and represents a first-ever on a path to fix -- to fiscal sanity, so we can stop piling debt on our kids and grandkids. with just days remaining in this legislative session, house republican leader john boehner has informed speaker nancy pelosi that republicans are ready to work together to enact this two-point jobs plan immediately. even as we seek to act quickly, we must also act openly. taxpayers rightly outraged when democratic leaders try to sort circuit the rules and read the final vote to force obama's gov take over health care for congress. the american people did not stand for this power grab them
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and they will not stand for now, especially with their jobs, their families, and their future is at stake. that is why john boehner has the speaker pelosi to insure the american people that she will allow nothing short of a full up or down vote on bills to cut spending and stop all of the looming tax hikes. this way, the will of the people and their elected representatives can be heard. anything less bales are economy and provides further evidence that democrats are more committed to preserving their power than helping our economy. if president obama and washington democrats are truly focused on creating jobs, we should take action immediately to cut government spending and stop all of these impending tax hikes. if speaker pelosi will allow up or down votes on these priorities this month, we can show the american people we are listening and ready to put their best interest, those of our constituents, the people we work for, first. thank you for your time. >> this week on the
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communicators, we continue our series looking at issues in privacy and telecommunications policy. our guest this week, anne toth, the head of privacy for yahoo!. >> this is our second week in our privacy series. we are looking at privacy issues and telecommunications policy. joining us from mount view, california, is yahoo!'s cheap of privacy, anne toth. also with us, juliana grunewald. thank you for being with us from california. what is your job at yahoo!? >> i am the vice president of global policy and the head of privacy at yahoo! that means i work with product teams, marketing, customer care, a work throughout the organization to make sure our
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policies and privacy promises are embedded throughout policies and products. >> this is what you had to say about yahoo!'s privacy policy. >> is this a new policy that yahoo! has developed, and is it one of the more stringent ones in your world? >> our policies have been in evolution over time. i think our thinking about privacy from the beginning.
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i have been a guy who for 12 years and i have worked with product people to make sure that privacy is reflected through our products services. that is absolutely nothing new. the way we have been thinking about privacy lately has been about how to contextualize privacy so that it has meaning for consumers. we talk about fraud in privacy controls, efforts under way that we can talk about in additional debt that relate to icons and advertising. here is where you access controls to be able to manage your privacy experience on our products and services, all of those types of contextual controls are really important. it simplifies privacy for consumers and makes it approachable. the back end controls are all the things we do behind-the- scenes to minimize how much data we keep and for how long. consumers don't necessarily see that, but it affords them greater privacy as a result.
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i am proud of our data retention policy. it is the lading -- deleting policy in the industry. we have reduced the time that we hold those types of records down to 90 days for the vast majority of our log files, not just for search, but for all of the log files that influence our advertising customization as well as our search. it is very comprehensive and reflects a real commitment to privacy for our consumers. >> in your privacy policy itself, this is what it says.
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just in reading it, it sounds like a lot of personal information. >> technology on the internet has a lot to do with browsers and delivering pages to specific users. it is fairly technical. we go to it in some detail in our privacy policy and talk to consumers about the specific types of data being transmitted to our servers. that is the kind of data that is deleted after 90 days so is not kept in perpetuity. we are trying to find different ways to make this kind of information a lot more understandable, to simplify it, to speak to consumers in a language they can understand. we are looking for symbols, shortcuts to get consumers privacy and permission so they don't have to dig around and look for it. it is readily available to them
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in the product interaction. if you go to the front page of yahoo!, you see an advertisement with an icon. it gives you access to information that allows you to opt out of advertising, but it shows you the type of interest we think you are interested in. it is more relevant and useful for a consumer to engage with that kind of information, rather than having to read through the entire process policy to get to it. >> you mentioned on line behavioral advertising, which has been a big issue of late. consumer activities on the web are tracked so that at can be targeted to them. do you do on monday haverhill advertising, and what information do you collect, and how is it used -- do you do online behavioral advertising? >> when it comes to a web page,
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they are looking for a personal, relevant, useful experience. when you look at page, a good number of ads appear on every single web page, and they are there because the advertising is what pays for free access to great content and storage and services online. we think it is really useful and important that the ads be complementary and useful in the overall experience, and that means more relevant. the data we collect on the site may be from your registration. it might be from search. you might have searched on a topic. over the christmas holidays i was doing searches on gaming systems because i have three young sons. that is the kind of information we used to make the ads were relevant to consumers. all of that information is used to improve your overall experience. we think it is really important that we be transparent about how that works. we give consumers tools to be
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able to see what we think you are interested in and be able to modify it. >> you allow consumers to opt out of getting these ads, if i am not mistaken. do you have any figures or sense of how many visitors actually opt out? do you get the sense that consumers are actually taking that extra step? >> the figures are a little bit hard. opt out or managed for cookies. there are a lot of tools that oversee and manage how cookies are stored and kept on a user's browser. very often, users often use third-party tools or themselves go in and to lead their cookies on a regular basis, which means in some respects they are opting out of advertising just by doing that. when they opt out on our side, that is one action we can
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record. it is hard to get an accurate number of how many users have opted out or to express that as a percentage. overall, users are engaging with these tools. we would like to be able to give them privacy choices that are contextual to their experience so they are more likely to engage with these choices. >> during an earlier session with the represented from the ftc, he said he did not think consumers were too concerned about having ads targeted with them, but said there is an enormous amount of data that can be used for purposes other than advertising. what assurances can you give that this information down the road would not be used for something other than advertising? >> yahoo! is an advertising network. we provide advertising services, but we are also a web
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destination. we use information that we collect for advertising customization, but also to improve your overall experience and improve our products and services. there are a few other uses of information that we have. that is what our privacy policy says. we are here to use data in a way that ultimately serves the consumer. for us, it comes back to trust. as i mentioned in my testimony, trust for us is the one real asset that we have. our competitors are all a single click away. there are new website -- websites and services coming on board every day. if we violate their trust, they will not keep coming back. we have strong incentive to abide by our promises and the consumer expectations, where they simply won't come back and we will have a business to protect. >> this is from the electronic
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privacy information center. >> i cannot speak for every company in the world, but we take our privacy policy very seriously. we put it out there and abide by it. it comes back to consumer trust. it is non-negotiable for us. it is also worth thinking about
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the fact that on line, the on- line phenomenon is new, but date is not new. the use of data for direct marketing and customization and to try to make products and services were relevant to consumers is certainly not new with the internet. we just need to think about data and a holistic way rather than thinking about the internet as a different type of creature. >> we are going to listen to a short video here. this is about google and eric schmidt. he has set a couple of controversial things recently when it comes to privacy. we just want to get your response. it is about google, not about yahoo!, but want to get your response as to if it puts a bad light on the industry. here is an animated video put out by a consumer watchdog.
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>> get your free ice cream. free ice-cream. hi there, boys and girls. you should know there is no such thing as free ice-cream. come on, kids. get your ice cream. i already know you. hold still, while we collect some of your info. if there is something you don't want anyone to know, you should not be doing it in the first place. you cannot believe everything you hear about privacy. sissy, i bet your daddy doesn't know mommy has been in googling
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old boy friends again. i want to share our newest invention. with these google classes, i can see everything. >> again, that is not about yahoo!. that is a google-centered at. does the cast a bad light on the industry in general? >> it certainly plays on people's fears about what companies may or may not know about them. that is exactly why transparency and consumer empowerment are important. a lot of companies have embraced the notion of not just trying to educate consumers about how behavioral advertising works or what data is collected, but to really show them. when you don't have access to information, you are likely to -- will we have tried to do is
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to demystify many companies in the advertising industry, an offering tools to give consumers greater transparency to the type of information we have and what we do with it. that is important for companies to do. that will provide some balance to this notion that there is an enormous amount of data that is being used in ways that is not beneficial to consumers. it feels a little more like fear mongering, rather than educating consumers in a constructive way. >> our guest is anne toth, vice president and head of privacy for yahoo! we also have juliana gruenwald. >> at the end of that ad, they urge viewers to call congress and urge congress to pass but do
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not attract blest, which is similar to the do not call list and get unwanted telemarketing calls. what is your take on this, which would allow consumers to say i don't want you tracking my web activities and i do not want to receive ads targeted at things i might like? >> i have not seen specifics, but my first reaction conceptually is that the technology that the internet runs on is a bit different than the weight telemarketing works with the telephone number. you have multiple different web addresses or identities on different websites and different cookie identifiers and have different device identifiers. it is a little difficult to imagine how it would be implemented in a way that would be simple for consumers to engage in. there are a lot of tools native to your browser that are already
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there for consumers to manage. it is a matter of making them more accessible and explaining their use to consumers to make it simpler for them to use. i don't want to make it more complex when it is something we should try to simplify. we would have to look at the specific proposal and figure out how to make it work from a technological perspective. >> microsoft apparently was going to build some sort of provision in their latest browser that would allow consumers to opt out of cookies and tracking. how would you feel about something like that, if it was built into the browser? >> they did include private browsing in windows internet explorer 8, and i know far fox
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has a similar feature. the default for safari, that apple browser, is that all cookies are deleted on a session basis. that means that website has to reestablish cookies with each new session. these are already tools that exist in browsers today. i don't know if consumers are as aware of them. it is a question about awareness and education as to how the tools operate. other data suggest that 49% of consumers delayed their cookies on a weekly basis. we need to look at b.g.e. delete the cookies on a weekly basis. we need to make sure we are trying to create something that already exist. >> tim o'reilly, who is called a technology evangelist, said this week that he is worried about the implications of lawmakers
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getting involved in consumer privacy. he said there is a witch hunt around consumer privacy. >> i think record privacy is concerned, you don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. there are immense benefits that can be seen online and offline to customize the new user's experience. i think in the world we live in today, it is an increasingly on demand world, where people want what they want when and how they want it. we are using that data to improve user experiences.
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it is in service to the consumer, and we want to make sure we can continue to do that because it supports the free internet today. more than that, this type of data is part of fueling innovation. by definition, innovation is something we could not have thought of a year or two ago. we need to be careful not to stifle innovation. what we are looking for is an incentive to continue to innovate. that really serves consumers the best. >> is there an industry group in silicon valley that meets and discusses these issues? do you meet with googled and microsoft, etc., about these issues to discuss it on an industry-wide basis? >> there are a number of groups that have met to discuss this. the interactive advertising bureau, along with the number of other trade associations
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representing over 4000 companies, including advertising networks, agencies, publishers, advertisers themselves, have come together to talk about principles and ways in which we can make more consistent and experience on line for consumers were but tech -- where behavioral advertising is concerned. they are trying to figure out how to self regulate and make it easier and more understandable for consumers. what i have discovered it is not so much that consumers don't understand how the internet works. it is that they don't necessarily understand how direct marketing works in the larger scheme of things. we are working hard to make sure consumers have the information at their fingertips to make the kind of decisions that need to make. >> you mentioned it self regulation. there are a couple of bills floating around capitol hill,
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including one on privacy that would essentially offer an opt out regime, requiring some option for sensitive information and some third-party site. after that bill came out, yahoo! issued a statement saying there remains some fundamental issues to be worked out to make sure the legislation protects free services for consumers made possible by online advertising. what are these fundamental issues you were talking about in that statement? >> it was simply a discussion draft. it is unclear where that is right now. we have introduced mr. rush's legislation. what we are looking at is making sure that there is room for innovation, that we have baseline protections in place. those are critical to us.
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there are a number of other uses of information that are vital to being able to operate a business, that we want to make sure are considered when legislation is drafted. those are the kind of things we are referring to there. we are waiting to see where the debate is headed. this is a moving target, so we will keep a close eye on it. >> you mentioned some vital activities to a company like yours. can you give examples of what you would want to make sure was not stopple by legislation? >> it gets into some specific areas about the differences between data collection and data use. there are some proposals that would prevent you from collecting data from users in the first place instead of simply using it for certain purposes.
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that is concerning to us, because there are a lot of uses where data is used to be able to bill advertisers and fight fraud across the site, in ways that relate directly to the advertising model. depending on how prescriptive the language is, it could create problems in some of those business operational areas. when you offer an opt out of showing a consumer behavioral advertising, that same data could be used for fraud detection and control. you want to make sure you have the appropriate use and right to be able to prevent fraud across your website. there are some protections there that we are looking at very carefully, making sure they are drafted and a way that protects those necessary uses of data. >> do you foresee legislation passing this year or next, and
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if the republicans take over congress in november, as far as your business model and business concerns, is that a good thing or a negative thing? >> i wish i had a crystal ball and could tell you these things. i don't know if legislation is going to pass. there are a lot of external forces that could influence those outcomes. it is just too soon to say. in terms of a change in house leadership, or if the republicans win a considerable number of seats, it will change the dynamics, but privacy does not fall along party lines. you cannot say that republicans think one way and democrats think another way. i don't think it will make a a great deal of difference in the way privacy is viewed in congress. >> what about mobile devices and smart phones? has your privacy policy changed
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because of the advent of wireless? >> privacy policy itself has not changed. recognize that mobile devices create different challenges. just the form factor, being able to give privacy notices to consumers is more challenging when you have less space to offer consumer. there are issues about location that raise a new set of privacy issues for companies. what we have done as far as opt out for advertising, we consider the fact that mobil is ramping up and we make are locked out available on mobile devices. it is portable to different devices. if you log into an iphone application, the opt out travels
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with you to your device without you having to separately opt out on the device. we put that into our mobile strategy. we don't think consumers want to have to do it on multiple devices. >> we have time for two more questions. >> one legislator says consumers do not even read privacy policies. he would like to see them become more simple and include the information that consumers need when they are serving on line. what is your take on that? >> we are aligned on that. privacy policies, when i started out, were very short period that became mort legalistic for a lot of unnecessary legal reasons. what we are trying to do is contextualize the privacy
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choices and give people enough information to make a decision in a particular context, without overwhelming them with information that may not be relevant to that interaction. that was parked thinking around that. it comes down to the design of web sites and pages. web design is one of our areas of expertise. hopefully this is where innovation can help make that vision more of a reality for consumers today. we have some work to do to make it ubiquitous and easy to engage with for consumers, but that is our goal. >> who at yahoo! has access to people's personal information such as sites visited work credit card and permission? >> we have strict access control policies so that peoplefo